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Has Imran Khan’s political bubble burst?

Will former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s narrative get the desired response? Or will he make Pakistan more vulnerable by fanning dissension within institutions and society, besides failing its economy?

It is not a strange coincidence that all of a sudden conspiracy theories have started floating simultaneously such as denuclearisation, acknowledging Israel as an independent and sovereign state, defaulting on loans and collapse of the economy etc.

The backdrop of the last week of Imran Khan’s statements is very interesting. Sounding extremely alarmist, he has said Pakistan will go bankrupt and it may be denuclearised if the Establishment did not decide (bringing him back in power).

He also attacked the Establishment for doing nothing in the face of what he believes is the US “regime change” conspiracy against Pakistan. Through his supporters, keyboard warriors and fellow journalist-cum-political workers, he launched a sustained campaign (Wo Kon Tha – who was he?) to indirectly target the Army top brass.

Other political leaders like Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz and Asif Ali Zardari might have criticised a few individuals in the institutions, but they never attacked the Army, the country and its vital assets, be its nuclear programme or foreign policy interests. Politics and politicians will only thrive if Pakistan survives as a viable country.

He has now taken Pakistan’s internal issues to the UN bodies — never seen before done by a mainstream political party. It is another issue that the UN cannot do anything about the domestic issues of a country since it has no legal authority to intervene.

He blamed the current government of Shehbaz Sharif for preparing to recognise Israel as an independent and sovereign state. While in govt, Imran Khan had sent his close aide to Israel and it is part of the record. The present government has strongly rejected this accusation along with the Foreign Office.

The entire narrative of Imran Khan has one underlying goal: to put enough pressure on the institutions to manipulate the political system in his favour at the cost of other political parties’ interests.

In simplistic terms, he seeks the people and institutions to choose one “poison” democratically (Imran Khan) instead of granting the masses the right to choose other kinds of “poisons” (PPP and PMLN etc) – to quote renowned author and intellectual Gen Assad Durrani, former ISI DG.

His advisors and aides think that casting high implications of his narrative makes him relevant and amounts to asking for a response from the institutions. The demand for free and fair elections is a smokescreen to rehabilitate him in power by rigging the elections as he expects. Otherwise, how can Imran Khan assume the election verdict delivers his two-thirds majority. Even if elections are held, he will likely dub them rigged and demand fresh elections if short of his overall victory.

That “Imran Khan is jeopardising Pakistan’s attempts to fix its economy” was the headline of the UK’s prestigious Economist Magazine. Piles of shipping containers sprout up at motorway junctions on the outskirts of Islamabad and at strategic crossroads inside making the city a jumbled cargo port, thanks to Imran Khan’s long march.

It comes on the heels of India scrambling to launch a major drive to exploit Pakistan’s vulnerabilities. They have been looking for an opportunity to undermine their biggest opponent in South Asia.

Regardless of Imran Khan’s rhetoric or speeches, one is curious to see what he is planning next. It is quite obvious he will not leave the fray easily as his predecessors did. “He has to live on though and brace Article 6 if that is what he might soon be getting,” said an observer.

In reality, his pressure of narrative is phoney and is becoming increasingly irrelevant in policy-making circles. While its implication for the Establishment has already started to dilute, his political bubble will burst in due course and Pakistan will move on. His narrative and pressure tactics will be of no use then.

Jan Achakzai is a geopolitical analyst, a politician from Balochistan and an ex-advisor to the Balochistan Government on media and strategic communication. He remained associated with BBC World Service. He is also Chairman of the Institute of New Horizons (INH) & Balochistan.


The author tweets @Jan_Achakzai

Originally published in The News

Courtesy : GeoNews

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